Antiques: A Straighter Bourbon

To those who treasure taste, Louis is the label for some of the world's greatest antiques. France's Louis XVI lent his name to a revival of Greco-Roman décor. Louis XV ruled in a time when furniture makers shunned the straight line, and Louis XIV, the Sun King, is still a synonym for sumptuousness. Now antiques addicts are turning back to an even earlier Louis—the 13th—whose style furnished France when it was becoming the first great nation in Europe.

Louis XIII furniture is much like the King's rule: cosmopolitan, craftsman-like and built for...

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